Maria Grazia Simonetta was born in Vigevano, (Pavia) Italy on the 10th October 1955.    Thoh an artist of remarkable versatility, today she is mainly known in Italy and abroad as a portrait painter on an international level.
Recently nominated as  the Official Portraitist for the Royal House of Bourbon -Two Sicilies, she is noted for having immortalized important representatives of the church, nobility  and cultural circles from Monte Carlo, Rome, Geneva, Milan and not least the Vatican.
To mention for example some members of the Royal House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, the House of Savoy and the Grimaldi’s of the Principality of Monaco.
Her paintings are housed in rooms of the Vatican, Royal Palaces, Portrait Galleries of Bishop’s Palaces, State Rooms, University Libraries, Civic Museums  and important collections both in Italy and abroad.
She is considered by many to be the last pupil and therefore heir to the nineteenth century Lombardy school which, through the teaching in Milan of Francesco Hayez, continued for more than a hundred years forming great names amongst fresco painters, artists and portraitists.
In fact at the Academy of Brera in Milan, great artists such as Sabatelli, Hayez, Bertini, Cesare Tallone and others taught young pupils from Vigevano such as Garberini and Luigi Bocca, the latter became a well known portrait painter who together with his son and daughter, Anna and Carlo, in the early nineteen hundreds worked on the frescoes  of the Leonardo Ducal Square of Vigevano, one of the most beautiful squares in the world.
It was in the very studio of Anna and Carlo Bocca and in that of the great master of colour, Ermenegildo Bacchella ,that Simonetta from the young age of thirteen learnt the ancient techniques for preparing a background or impasto, and how to use the  blending of colours and tones knowledgeably. An even deeper understanding of these skills was acquired in successive years in the studio of the restorer Fabrizio Frattina, pupil of Mauro Pelliccioli.
Following a Law Degree obtained at the University of Pavia she abandoned a forensic career almost immediately to dedicate herself to art, exhibiting in cities and art galleries  ever more renowned: from Genoa to Turin, to Bologna, to Marbella (Spain) and others.
After a period of absence from artistic circles due to the birth of her three children, Simonetta returned to her career as an artist in 1995 and in 1998 and in the year 2000 her town dedicated  an anthological and a personal exhibition to her in the famous Sforza Castle.
Her recognition as an international artist was crowned by a personal showing she prepared in 2001 in Monte Carlo (Principality of Monaco) in the Cultural Centre of H.S.H Prince Albert where she was also nominated as an active member of this centre.
This exhibition was honoured not only by the presence of its patron and His Excellence Monsieur Bernard Barsì Archbishop of the Principality but also by the highest offices and authorities and by numerous representatives from the Italian and Foreign Consulates.
On this occasion the artist met Princess Camilla of Bourbon-Two Sicilies, a woman of extraordinary artistic sensibility with vast cultural interests, who immediately showed a fervid appreciation of Simonetta’s paintings and who in the following years together with her husband Prince Carlo, continued to encourage the artist to pursue her work.
It was the fact that Prince Carlo and Princess Camilla of Bourbon –Two Sicilies, were so pleased with their official portraits painted by Simonetta that enabled her to realize one of her most important works: in 2005 for the coronation of H.S.H Prince Albert as Prince Sovereign in succession to his father Prince Ranier, Simonetta was commissioned to paint the official portrait for the event, this painting is now conserved in the Principality of Monaco in the private apartment of his Royal Highness in the Prince’s Palace.
Other recognitions are not lacking: in Geneva on consigning a portrait of Prince Filiberto of Savoy she was decorated with the title Dame of the Order of Merit of Savoy and subsequently she was awarded the Gold Medal of Merit of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, headed by the Bourbon –Two Sicilies families and consequently invested as Constantinian Dame.
Although at this stage Simonetta is quite well known in reality little is known about her, she doesn’t exhibit her works frequently and often does not reveal even to the subject portrayed the true title or message contained in the painting.
However some have begun to surmise that behind that able technique of representing reality there is an enigmatic artist launching subliminal messages hidden in an apparently traditional picture.
There are still life elements, landscapes and above all dragons which open the door to a metaphysical and conceptual world  giving the portrait a new key with which to interpret what at this point is no longer simply a portrait.
For years a theological message has been underlined connecting Christian symbols (always accompanied by the comment of a biblical expert) evident in the collection of Dragons presented both in Monte Carlo and in Rome to the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church who was to write,”…a significant work, fruit of excellent technique, profound sensibility and awareness of heavenly things…”
Other such religious symbolism is also easily legible in two great altarpieces  one consigned to Prince Augusto Ruffo of Calabria, illustrious delegate of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George and the second painted for a Church of the Foundation of St Anna, but her maximum expression is found in a portrait consigned in 2007 to Pope Benedict XVI who greatly appreciated the message contained in the Vineyard of the Lord, the water, the ray of the trinity and in the other symbols placed in the background of this portrait.

Yet another important event was the unveiling of a portrait of the deceased H.M.E.H the Prince and Grand Master Frà Andrew Bertiè which was delivered in June 2008. This took place in the headquarters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, in the presence of the delegate Dr Guidobono Cavalchini, of the Prelate of the Order H.E. Archbishop Monsieur Angelo Acerbi and numerous other figures including civil and military authorities.